The Second Limb. Observances
The Niyamas are observances that encourage the well-being of ourselves. Practicing the Niyamas helps us maintain a positive environment in which to grow and gives us the self discipline and inner-strength necessary to progress along the path of Yoga. The Niyamas teach only love. Following them with the faith that whatever awaits us is far better than whatever we had let go of. While the Yamas bring us closer to truth by teaching us through our relationships with others, the Niyamas remind us that ultimately the path to Samadhi is one we take alone. We must now begin to work on an individual level.
There are five Niyamas are:
1. Saucha: Purity
2. Santosha: Contentment
3. Tapas: Self-Discipline
4. Svadyaya: Self Study
5. Ishvara Pranidhana: Surrender to the Absolute
1. Saucha: Purity, cleanliness, loving our whole self
What does it mean?
Saucha is about creating the most harmonious environment we can. Both physically, energetically, emotionally and mentally.
Here we can explore those less known yogic practices that are designed to rid the body of dis-ease and preserve the body’s functions for as long as possible so that there is more time to reach Samadhi. These include different purification rituals – or kriyas such as neti, fasting, colonic irrigation techniques, tongue scraping, eye washing & body scrubbing…to name but a few.
But the mainstream and more well-known practices of asana, pranayama and meditation all cleanse and purify the body and mind as well. With the aim to strengthen the capacity -physically, energetically, emotionally and mentally to maintain a purer state of being.
Putting it into Practice.
On a very basic level, it can involve keeping your spaces clean and tidy. In classes, putting away mats, props, and being mindful of other student’s mats.
Spending time cleansing the body and performing various kriyas.
Consciously surrounding yourselves with a purer environment; these could include your choices of food, drink, friends, entertainment - tv, podcasts, films etc, how you furnish your home etc.
Select wisely from the many choices of emotions and thoughts that arise in the mind including your circumstances and limiting beliefs. Watching the mind can help release and loosen our toxic attachments to the outer world, allowing more freedom and clarity, creating more neutrality. Ultimately, leading us to a greater consciousness, peace, balance and truth.
"Your beliefs become your thoughts.
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits.
Your habits become your values.
Your values become your destiny" Mahatma Gandhi